Local family honors grandfather, first American casualty of WWII at Doherty High School

(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The family of a local man who was recognized as the first casualty of World War II visited Doherty High School in Colorado Springs on Friday, May 17, where their loved one is honored on the school’s ‘Hall of Honor’ mural.

Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel T. Griffin’s plane was shot down during the attack on Pearl Harbor, which earned him recognition as the first American casualty of the war. Griffin’s memory is one with a tight connection to Colorado Springs, as he was a 1928 graduate of what is now Palmer High School.

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Dave Griffin, his grandson, visited Doherty and the mural on Friday to thank and recognize the school’s Navy JROTC members for adopting his grandfather’s grave to honor and respect his sacrifice.

“I think it’s a reminder that in our country, that freedom isn’t free and that we have to protect it and also defend it and in that regard, we need people who are willing to lay their lives down to protect that, and those are unique people who have a special calling and desire to do that work and we are so appreciative of them,” said Griffin.

The Hall of Honor mural was painted by local muralist Kim Polumka and was the idea of Doherty High School’s Navy JROTC leader, Retired U.S. Navy Captain Greg Thomas.

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